Lava Lounge, a cocktail bar in Leicester got in touch with me last week for some photos for their new and exciting cocktail menu. The original plan was to take some photos using the out of focus backbar as a backdrop and have the drinks on the bar surface, but after some discussion on the day it was decided that a black backdrop would be cleaner looking for the menu.
Such a last minute change to the plan called for some improvisation - luckily I had brought with me a sheet of black acrylic in case the bar was not reflective enough. We ended up using the black side of a 5-in-1 reflector as a backdrop, and two softboxes, one on either side pointed at 45 degrees downwards, as a backlight. As the large majority of the glasswear and the tasty cocktails inside were mostly translucent, backlighting them provided a nice way to illuminate the cocktail without too many distracting highlights on the glass. For the curved glasses we also added some black card on either side to add some definition to the edges of the glassware. You can see the lighting set up below:
The location and subject provided some challenges, such as trying to minimise highlights on the glasswear, getting rid of the reflections from the lights on the ceiling on the acrylic, and the differing translucency of the liquids in the glass, but as i'm sure you'll agree, we came out with some nice results! The entire series was taken on a 5d mark 2 and a 50mm f1.4 lens.
As you can imagine, this shoot was thirsty work and once it was over I was more than happy to take Dan, the manager/cocktail maestro, up on his offer of a couple of alcoholic concoctions - perks of the job!